“I’ve become a little more generous as I’ve found myself dedicating my time to service, the people I live with, and my own wellness.” -Jack Hurley
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Jack Hurley majored in Biological Studies and Urban Studies and minored in Chemistry, and a member of the Honors College. He was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including serving as Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem, a summer camp for children whose lives have been affected by cancer, and Family Captain for Keep it Real, a tutoring organization for Somali-Bantu refugee families. In addition to his community service, he also interned with the City of Akron as a Laboratory and Watershed Intern. Jack’s hobbies include running and reading novels. He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the American Heart Association.
Tess De Jong: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?
Jack Hurley: Meeting some important players in the Pittsburgh community. That includes leaders in my neighborhood and nonprofit sector, as well as young leaders who are also doing a service experience, doing good for the community with little personal financial gain. I think meeting those people has led to a more holistic perception of this city.
Tess: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?
Jack: As a college student at Pitt, I was geographically centered in an area that was connected to transit and all sorts of restaurants and services, many provided by the university. Now being outside of that center, I notice there is less access to things and it hasn’t been as easy. It’s forced me to be more aware of where and how I’m living and to consider my privilege in accessibility. I also have noticed that I’m living more simply and not getting caught up with the minutiae of life. I think I’ve become a little more generous as I’ve found myself dedicating my time to service, the people I live with, and my own wellness. I take care of myself by giving myself quiet time, cooking, and talking with other people about things that matter.
Tess: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.
Jack: We all serve in a nonprofit, so oftentimes that means dealing with issues that are heavy. PULSE has taught me to be active in taking care of myself, through sleep, food, hydration, talking things out, and listening to and being with other people.
Tess: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?
Jack: I enjoy being part of a team that is a trusted voice of knowledge. I serve for the American Heart Association in community health, and we have an initiative called Healthy Blood Pressure For All. It’s a program where people learn about healthier practices and behaviors. Being part of a team that can share knowledge about health and wellness to empower others is just really exciting.
Tess: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?
Jack: I love doing housework or washing dishes or cooking with my housemates, which is not always fun, but then there’s this sweet little moment when everything is done. We have time to relax and sit and laugh and those times feel especially sweet after finishing the chores. It’s like there’s nothing else in the world in those moments.
Tess: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.
Jack: Right now [in November] it includes reaching out to community members and helping them introduce the Healthy Blood Pressure For All program to their communities. I figure out logistics via a lot of emailing and talking on the phone. Today I designed and updated flyers, applications, made sure everything will be sent out in time, and that our partners are ready to introduce this program to their community. Come January my day will look a little different. I’ll be a health mentor and teach some cooking classes.
Tess: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?
Jack: Especially after going to Pitt, I realize how much Pittsburgh invests in small geographical areas, like certain neighborhoods. There are visible disparities, and you can see that the city invests in things that are shiny, like new bars or homes in gentrified areas to attract new residents. Some of these things may make it very difficult for people to live or stay in their home/neighborhood.
Tess: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?
Jack: I live in Perry Hilltop, and one day I went on a run and just kept going. I ran to Riverview Park in Observatory Hill this fall, and I just remember going up the hill next to the observatory and seeing a view of Pittsburgh. It was absolutely gorgeous and the color of the trees was just so beautiful!
Tess: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Jack: Tacos! We have a different protein every time.
Tess: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?
Jack: My fellow PULSErs!!
Story by PULSE Fellow Tess De Jong.
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